TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Is it part of human nature to have a hierarchy?

This question was mainly inspired by my history class. We were going over some Russian Marxists, and I thought it was interesting that even a communist regime will have a leader. This brought up the question, "Is it natural for humans to have a leader?" I thought about any organization and realized they all have a decently-defined hierarchy. I also thought about our cavemen ancestors and the sort of familial hierarchy with the father as the provider of food and safety (I haven't really studied anthropology, so tell me if I'm incorrect).

Feel free to ask clarifying questions, and I am looking forward to your responses!


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Nov 1 2013: A great question and I think Mr. Clegg points to an even better one. I think the idea of hierarchy gets muddled by the more simplified idea of dominance. Our cooperatives must be in some way different from that of a wolf pack or a lion pride but why? Does language allow us to understand our roles more clearly? Is it our ability to specialize our contribution to make ourselves vital to community success?

    Whatever the case. Remember that we are not animals. But then again I've never met a powerful leader who would willingly step aside when his expertise was no longer required so maybe there is still too much animal left inside us.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.